Polyimides and Imide Polymers
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Published: February 2011
Polyimide and imide polymer resins are high-temperature-resistant polymers. This report covers imide polymers of commercial interest including condensation polyimide resins, addition polyimide resins, polyamide-imides (PAI), polyether-imides (PEI), polyester imides (PESI) and polymethacryl-imides. Primarily, the term imide polymers is used for all types of these polymers having an imide structure, both in the polymer main chain, such as polyamide-imides, where amide and imide structures are alternating, or in the side chain, such as the polymethacryl-imides.
All of these polymers have excellent electrical and physical properties in addition to their high thermal and oxidative stability. Because of this combination of properties, these polyimides are used in aerospace, electronics and various other industrial applications.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyimides and other imide polymers:
Apart from polyester-imides and polyamide-imides, mainly used as wire enamels and secondary insulation varnishes in the electrical/electronics industry, approximately 85–90% of the global market for polyimides and imide polymers was in the United States, Europe and Japan in 2009.
Each of the key world regions has a unique supply/demand situation because of different local market characteristics and sole supply sources for certain types of polyimides.
The polyimides and imide polymers market was not immune to the economic crisis of 2008–2009. Global consumption increased at a healthy rate from 2006 through most of 2008 before slowing and eventually decreasing in 2009. By the last quarter of 2009, the markets had started to improve and picked up some growth momentum, increasing at a healthy rate in 2010 with rising demand, particularly from the electrical/electronics market (which includes films and use in the aircraft/aerospace and military markets, among others). Automotive, aircraft/aerospace (particularly new commercial aircraft) and food service markets will also help drive consumption of polyimides and imide polymers as companies require products with properties such as higher service temperatures (i.e., increased thermal performance), greater toughness and flexibility, easier processing, and lighter weight (for fuel efficiency) at a reduced cost.
Consumption of polyimide and other imide polymer resins in Asian countries other than Japan, including China, India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, has been growing rapidly in recent years despite the global economic recession (although growth slowed in 2009). In fact, consumption in the region grew at an average annual rate of 9% during 2006–2009. Growth is expected at an average annual rate of about 9% in Japan during 2009–2015 (partly as a result of recovery from a severe decline in 2009), and a rate of about 10% in China. Growth for Other Asia is expected to average 6.5% during the forecast period.